Is a 5-cans, 1985 JCM 800 2203 fully identical to a 1984 5-cans 2203?

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Is a 5-cans, 1985 JCM 800 2203 fully identical to a 1984 5-cans 2203?

Post by Delicieuxz » Thu Sep 08, 2022 2:40 am

Hi. I'm wanting to get a 1984 2203, as my favourite artist used one - and the DI jack will give some interesting experimental capabilities. But, due to availability and pricing limitations, I'm wondering if I could broaden my search to include 5-can 1985 2203s.

I already have a 1982 2203, which I plan to sell, and I have a couple of friends with 1984 2203s. I think there is some difference between the sound of the 1982 and the 1984.

There's a thread on this forum that talks about changes in the JCM 800 2204, from the vertical to the horizontal input version. That thread is here:

Do those same changes apply to the 2203?

I have been told on another forum, "Horizontal input 2203/4 had a small cap across anode/cathode on first stage... takes fizz out and makes it... nicer.. to my ears, that is..", and "the horizontals had higher preamp voltages regardless of filter cap number". I was also told "With the capacitors its not as easy as counting how many cans, there are differences in capacitance, amount of caps inside the can, where they are wired in and so on."

So, I'm wondering what it actually comes down to. I've seen some 1985 2203s with 5 cans that, visually, look like the 1984 2203. But if there are actually tiny differences between them, I'd probably be best holding out for a 1984, so that I don't later feel like amp searching again to get what was my goal in the first place.

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